Production planner
Business & Corporate

Production planners look for ways to improve production processes. They monitor current production levels and provide detailed schedules for the production plant to work to.

Work Activities

Production planners make sure that products are produced on time and at the lowest possible cost. They carefully work out the best way to use resources, such as staff and materials.

The production planner discusses the proposed production schedule with the buyers, the plant manager, and the production manager. Once a plan has been agreed, appropriate sections of the plans and schedules will also go to supervisors of the production departments involved.

Where a company has to compete with other companies to win contracts for more work, the production planner has a central role.

The planner draws up production plans working from information provided by designers, draughtspersons, architects and engineers. These people provide a list of materials and parts with their drawings and specifications.

The plans are sent to an estimator who will put a cost to the plans before submitting them. If the company is awarded the contract, the planners may need to revise schedules to take account of design changes and delays.

Planners use standards developed from past experience within the company to help them estimate how long different activities and processes will take. They also get a good idea of how much time should be allowed for the delivery of different parts from suppliers.

Production planners are usually based in an office in the planning department. They are usually involved in project meetings. In these meetings, changes may be made to the plans and schedules because of maintenance, staffing or other problems.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills

  • Be good at organising your workload.
  • Have maths and IT skills.
  • Be accurate with your work.
  • Have good planning skills.
  • Be a good communicator.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of production planners

Employers throughout the UK are manufacturers across a wide range of industries. In some sectors, production planners need technical knowledge and qualifications, for example, in engineering.


Entry routes and training

Entry routes vary depending on the size and type of company. Some people enter via a degree, foundation degree, HND or HNC.

You should be able to enter this career with a higher education qualification in most subjects. Courses linked to subjects like manufacturing may be most useful.

Occasionally, it may be possible to enter as a technician or be trained and promoted from craft-level work.

It may also be possible to enter this career following an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in an Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies subject.

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